Having a Lovely Time Writing

April 22, 2010

Gillian Philip interview part 2

Filed under: Uncategorized — auntyfruitcake @ 1:01 pm

Hi Gillian

It is good to speak to you again, I managed to finish Crossing the Line in just two sittings with the major sitting having read the rest of the book in one go from page 22. I found Nick a really fascinating boy and thought he was believable which then made me full of admiration for you. I have tried once to write as a male character and gave up but here was Nick and I wasn’t thinking this is Gillian writing as Nick – no, Nick was real I believed in him and found myself totally absorbed in his world.

Boy, did this book make me think, was it one of the most amazing adventures my imagination had ever been on? Yes, it was and now it’s over I wish I’d not done it in one sitting! But I will enjoy re-reading Crossing the Line again looking at it next with a writer’s eye and enjoying this book from a different perspective – enjoying how you have managed the craft of writing.

‘Mickey is obviously one of the least sympathetic characters; did you find him difficult to write because of this?’
Like a lot of villains (but not all!), Mickey was quite hard to write when I started out. I knew he was more the bad guy than Kev, so I found it easier to relate to his little brother. But as always happens, I got to know him better as I wrote him. In many ways he’s very like Nick – he too looks after his younger sibling – but he has gone about things in a far more extreme and violent way. Nick looks up to Mickey, and I think it’s quite a close call as to whether Nick will go the same way.

In the end, I did feel a certain amount of sympathy
for Mickey. Not a lot, but I don’t think I could have written him if I couldn’t see things at least to some degree from his point of view.

‘You bring up so many key issues – guilt, blame, coping with death but the one that got me was the putting of Lola Nan into a nursing home – for me this was so cruel but also completely necessary? You can imagine the pressure faced by Nick’s parents and I don’t think Nick really understood his parents which just adds to the realism of this book! It really is a portrayal of a modern family – what I’d like to know is do Mum and Dad sort things out or are the messed up forever?’

You know, I’m not sure. I’m never sure at the end of a book quite how things will go – I might have a vague idea, but to know for sure I’d have to write a sequel. After all, the book itself changed in all sorts of small ways while I was writing it, and I’m sure the same would happen with any further story. I do like to think, though, that Nick’s parents get a bit of a grip on themselves. Dad’s more likely to do that than Mum, I can’t help thinking!

My friend Gerry has told me I must read Bad Faith by Gillian Philip next as it is another amazing read. I will do Gerry!


Thanks Gillian, I loved chatting to you and can’t wait to read more about your totally believable characters and get absorbed into their worlds.

Keep up to date with what Gillian is up to:



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